Child custody and child support are two of the most contested and emotional issues that we deal with in a divorce case. Children are innocent parties in a divorce case; therefore, the courts and the law seek to protect children by ensuring that the best interest of the child is the overriding concern in custody and support cases.
Does my occupation and financial stability affect my custody agreement?
The overriding concern for judges when making decisions regarding child custody and child support is the best interest of the child. Tennessee Code Annotated §36-6-106 provides 15 factors that judges must consider when making a determination regarding custody, including but not limited to:
- Whether one parent has performed the majority of the parenting responsibilities, and the nature, strength, and stability of the child’s relationship with both parents;
- The potential for future performance as a caregiver and the parent’s past performance as a caregiver in addition to the parent’s willingness and ability to encourage and facilitate a close relationship between the child and the other parent;
- A parent’s willingness or refusal to attend parent education seminars;
- The willingness of each parent to provide for the needs of the child (i.e. clothing, medical care, food, education, etc.);
- Whether one parent has been the primary caregiver or taken a greater role in performing parental responsibilities;
- The emotional ties, love, and affection between each parent and the child;
- The developmental level of the child and the child’s emotional needs;
- The emotional, moral, physical, and mental abilities and fitness of each parent as it relates to caring for the child;
- The child’s relationship with siblings, relatives, and mentors and the child’s involvement in his or her school and other physical activities in his or her surroundings;
- The length of time the child has been in a stable environment and the need to continue that stability;
- Evidence of physical, sexual, mental, or other abuse;
- The behavior and character of others living in the home or with whom the parent interacts;
- If the child is 12 years of age or older, the court may consider the child’s reasonable preference. The court may also consider the preference of a younger child in some situations;
- The employment schedule for each parent; and,
- Any other factors the court deems relevant to consider.
As you can see, your employment schedule can affect your custody arrangement; however, the law specifically states, “the court may make accommodations consistent with those schedules.” The court is also directed to order a custody arrangement that permits both parents to enjoy the maximum participation possible in the life of the child consistent with the factors above. Because each situation is different, you need to consult our custody attorney to determine how your work schedule or occupation will potentially affect your custody arrangement.
Does my job affect how much child support I pay or my spouse pays?
Child support in Tennessee is governed by the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines that provide a specific formula for calculating the child support obligation for each parent. The Income Shares Model takes into account factors such as your gross income before taxes, the number of days each year that the child spends with you, the number of children being supported, other children you may support, work-related daycare costs, and health insurance costs for the child. Detailed child support worksheets and calculators are used to determine your child support obligation.
Even though the guidelines provide a detailed formula and standards for calculating child support, other factors can influence how child support is calculated. Establishing the correct number of days the child spends in your home and the correct income used to calculate child support can be difficult and complicated to determine in some situations. Self-employment, unemployment, and parents returning to the workforce after receiving additional education can complicate child support calculations. Having an experienced Knoxville child support attorney who understands the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines as well as the court opinions regarding child support is vital to ensure that you pay or receive the correct child support amount each month.
Are you facing a tough custody and support battle in the greater Knoxville area?
A consultation with an experienced child custody and child support attorney can help you evaluate how your job and occupation will affect custody and support agreements. The specific circumstances of your situation will need to be considered when applying Tennessee’s custody and support laws.
The family law attorneys of Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC want to help you as you fight for the best interest of your child. Our custody lawyers have years of experience helping families throughout Knoxville and the surrounding areas. Contact our office by calling (865) 292-2307 or online to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our compassionate, knowledgeable family law attorneys.